One evening the New Testament professor from Princeton Seminary visited a high school youth group. As he was speaking about the baptism of Jesus, one adolescent boy sat aloof in the back, slouched in a chair, staring at his tennis shoes.
After the professor finished speaking about the significance of Christ’s baptism as a revelation of God’s presence in Jesus, the high schooler said without looking up, “That’s not what it means.”
Glad that the student had been listening enough to disagree, the professor asked, “What do you think it means?”
“The story says that the heavens were opened, right?”
“The heavens were opened, and the Spirit of God came down, right?”
The boy finally looked up and leaned forward, saying, “It means God is loose in the world. And it is dangerous.”
It’s a shift for some of us to think that Love unleashed in the world is dangerous.
But Love is dangerous if your sense of power comes from dominating and oppressing others. Love insists on equality, respect, and kindness.
Love is dangerous if you use your privilege to get ahead in life at the expense of others. Love says we are all equally valued, valuable, and deserving.
Love is dangerous if you hoard resources for yourself while others are denied. Love calls us to be generous with each other and care for the common good.
Love unleashed in the world means that the oppressive power systems that seem to be winning have no chance. The call of the long arc of history is always the same: it’s the call of God’s people who rise up, again and again, preaching Love and longing to be free.
There are many days, especially when I watch the news, when the Way of Love seems like a distant, naïve dream. But then I remember the Advent message: God breaks through. God is with us and within us. Love is on the loose.
We are in this together,